Bundle of Joy

Combo treatment brings long-sought relief, reduces need for opioids.

Wayne Bloomberg, 68, is a native of western New York. When he was a young man, he didn’t have enough money for college, so his uncle got him a job repairing farm machinery. Wayne’s career as a heavy equipment mechanic evolved from that humble beginning.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

When CBD was added to Wayne’s treatment regimen,
it helped relieve his chronic headaches, back and neck pain.

“New York didn’t pay very well for farm equipment repair back then, so I packed up and moved to Florida in 1972 when I was 20 years old,” Wayne recalls. “In Florida, I found a job with more pay and more benefits working as a mechanic for Caterpillar®.

“For 34 years, I served as a field mechanic and worked in the shop the rest of the time. For the last 10 years, I was a master mechanic. My work involved rebuilding transmissions, converters and hydraulic cylinders, as well as troubleshooting electrical systems.”

For many of his working years, Wayne experienced intense headaches that interrupted his daily routines. Those medical issues eventually forced him to retire at age 63, although his doctors had urged him to retire years earlier.

“I was having serious headaches with sporadic nerve pain in the back of my head,” Wayne describes. “The pain was on the right side. I lost hearing in my right ear, and the back of my right eye felt like it was burning inside. Sometimes, my head hurt so much that I wanted to just lie down and sleep so the pain would go away.

“There were some days when the pain was so bad I couldn’t see straight and everything was a blur. By the time I retired, I was getting headaches every day. My head hurt so much that sometimes I couldn’t remember what I did at work or figure out how I got home. That’s when I said, It’s time to retire.

To make matters worse, Wayne also suffered with chronic back and neck pain. He underwent surgery on his lower back and cervical spine. But his surgeon also recommended that he visit Sunil J. Panchal, MD, a board-certified interventional pain specialist and the president and medical director of National Institute of Spine and Pain, which has offices in Lutz and Tampa.

Unique Technology

“Wayne has suffered with low back pain for more than 25 years,” Dr. Panchal reports. “He also suffers with neck pain and pain that radiates into his head, causing chronic headaches. He previously underwent a cervical spinal fusion but still experiences persistent neck and head pain.

“Over the years, I treated the occipital nerves in the back of Wayne’s head using radiofrequency ablation. He experiences significant relief from that procedure, sometimes for two years, but the nerves regenerate and it must be repeated. For his severe low back pain, I implanted a spinal pump that aims low-dose morphine directly into the spinal fluid around the painful area.

“Recently, Wayne came to me seeking treatment options to complement his current regimen that would provide long-term relief from his headaches. He wanted to explore using CBD products. He looked at products available at stores such as GNC® and wanted advice on the products.”

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the major active ingredients of cannabis, but it does not create a “high.” One CBD manufacturer, VERSÉA, stands out to Dr. Panchal because it employs a pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing process. In addition, its operators have experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

“This company possesses a unique technology that allows it to essentially micronize the materials involved in CBD production,” Dr. Panchal describes. “That provides a much more predictable, high-level absorption of the product, which gives the user a better understanding of their blood level so they can adjust their dosage for symptom relief.”

Dr. Panchal recommended VERSÉA’s CBD products to Wayne, who experienced excellent results. In turn, Dr. Panchal was able to lower the morphine dose from Wayne’s spinal pump, which reduces his risk of opioid-related side effects such as itching, nausea and constipation.

“Opioids taken orally also accelerate osteoporosis and interfere with immune system function,” Dr. Panchal observes. “So when I treat pain patients, I generally employ a strategy aimed at reducing their exposure to opioids or eliminating opioid use completely. The strategy typically involves treating the pain with a combination of modalities.

“Wayne’s modality combination includes radiofrequency ablation, a spinal pump and CBD. While Wayne was receiving a relatively low dose of morphine previously, this combination of treatments has allowed us to reduce his opioid dose even further. This strategy has helped relieve Wayne’s pain and benefitted his overall health.”

30-Minute Solution

“There are two kinds of CBD, low dose and high dose,” Wayne relates. “Dr. Panchal and I determined that I should use the high dose. Usually, I put two drops underneath my tongue and wait as long as I can before swallowing. The CBD drops help a lot. I typically get 60 percent to 70 percent pain relief when I take them.

“Sometimes, I put CBD salve on the back of my head when it’s hurting, and within a half-hour, the pain goes away and I start to feel better.”

Wayne reports that at its peak, his headache pain typically rated a nine or 10 on a scale of one to 10. But Dr. Panchal’s treatment strategy has lowered that substantially.

“Sometimes, I put CBD salve on the back of my head when it’s hurting, and within a half- hour, the pain goes away and I start to feel better.” – Wayne

“With the treatment I’m getting from Dr. Panchal, I only have mild headaches now, about a two (rating) in the daytime and maybe a three or four at night, which is bearable,” he confirms. “I don’t have the really bad headaches anymore.

“And the CBD affects more than my headaches. It makes my entire body feel good. Sometimes, I rub the salve on my knees when they’re bothering me, and the pain is just about eliminated.

“Dr. Panchal is a very good doctor, the best pain doctor I’ve ever met. And his staff is very nice and pleasant. National Institute of Spine and Pain is very easy to deal with. I highly recommend them.”

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    • National Institute of Pain

      We treat each patient individually, using the latest equipment and various innovative procedures to diagnose pain and determine your care needs. We then assemble the appropriate interdisciplinary team of health care professionals who can best... Read More

    • Sunil J. Panchal, MD

      Sunil J. Panchal, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in interventional pain medicine. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and earned his medical degree from... Read More